Be a Leader with an MSN in Nursing Administration Degree

If you feel you’ve served enough time as a bedside nurse, why not enroll in an MSN in Nursing Administration to propel your career to the next level?

Most modern Nursing Administration MSN programs are flexible and take place online. This means that you can continue to work as a bedside nurse while you study toward a more advanced role.

Not only can an MSN in Administration increase your chances of landing a leadership role in the hospital. There are a whole host of other career opportunities that this program can open up. This includes clinical nurse research roles and legal nurse consultancy positions.

Many institutions offer MSN Nursing Administration programs. This guide will explore your main options, as well as the job prospects that this program can open up for you.

What You Can Do With an MSN in Nursing Administration Degree

Once you’ve completed your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), you can enroll in an MSN course. There are many MSN specializations to choose from – Administration being one of them. It can be used primarily to move up to a more managerial position in the health care service.

Additionally, an MSN is necessary if you plan on enrolling in a doctoral degree, such as a DNP or a Ph.D.

However, you only need an MSN to widen your job prospects. Attaining an MSN in nursing administration will qualify you for the following positions:

Charge Nurse

A charge nurse is one of the many management positions that an MSN in Nursing Administration can qualify you for. In this position, you’ll oversee the work of several nurses in a designated unit. You’ll work to improve nursing standards and create effective work schedules.

Nurse Administrator

Like the charge nurse, the nurse administrator requires effective communication and leadership skills. Although mostly admin and office-based, nurse administrators need to interact regularly with all members of staff to ensure the smooth running of the hospital.

Director of Nursing

As a director of nursing, your core responsibilities concern the maintenance of current staff and the hiring of new nurses. A director of nursing must hire and train staff effectively. They need to be able to judge whether a candidate is a right fit for the job.

Nurse Manager

A nurse manager has similar responsibilities to the director of nursing and the charge nurse. They oversee the smooth running of the ward and suggest areas of improvement. Besides dealing with standard administration work, nurse managers will devise ways of training new staff. They’ll also put these training initiatives into practice with recently hired staff.

Quality Improvement

A quality improvement officer examines all areas of a hospital to ensure rules are being abided by and that health and safety are being maintained. They’ll also work to devise new policies and oversee their implementation. Quality improvement positions may sometimes be titled as clinical quality managers and directors of quality improvement.

Nurse Informatics

Like quality improvement nurses, someone who works in nurse informatics examines how a hospital is being run. However, instead of examining the hospital itself, nurses in this position will analyze healthcare data. Through data analysis, informatics nurses can identify areas that need improvement and better support patient care.

Analytical sciences and information management play a big part in some Nursing Administration programs. For this reason, Nursing Administration MSN graduates would be ideal for a job in nurse infographics.

Legal Nurse Consultant

If you’d like to move away from the healthcare side of nursing, you could become a legal nurse consultant. This job role will see you become a consultant for legal and governmental professionals.

Your job is to provide a medical expert’s opinion. Perhaps a legal professional needs help to understand a specific piece of medical data or a legal team needs to gather healthcare data. In both these instances, they could turn to you to utilize your expertise.

Legal nurse consultants can end up playing huge roles in healthcare reform lobbying and the establishment of new healthcare regulations.

Clinical Nurse Researcher

A clinical nurse researcher is another good option if you want to have a nursing job that deals indirectly with patients. As a clinical nurse researcher, your main task will be analyzing data for medical research. You may have to conduct scientific studies on your own, and complete research papers to reflect your findings.

You may also have to write out grant proposals to gain funding for trials.

Alternative Career Options

When you attain an MSN in Nursing Administration, you don’t have to stay working in a hospital. It opens healthcare opportunities for you across the board. This includes clinical and legal nurse positions (as detailed above). With this MSN attained, you could end up working in any of the following areas:

  • Large healthcare systems
  • Government agencies
  • Clinical facilities
  • Professional organizations
  • Marketable Skills for the MSN-ADM

Benefits of an MSN in Nursing Administration Degree

The main benefits of enrolling in an MSN in Nursing Administration program are as follows:

Less job-related stress

The biggest benefit of enrolling in an MSN in Nursing Administration is being able to move on from standard registered nursing responsibilities. As rewarding as it may be, bedside nursing is undeniably stressful and emotionally demanding. The long hours on the ward, too, can be draining.

An MSN Nursing Administration program would allow you to leave behind the stress and anxiety associated with standard nursing. It allows you to progress towards a more comfortable position in the healthcare world while helping to improve the standard of care delivered.

With some administration roles, you’ll maybe be able to work traditional office hours.

It expands your nursing skills

Not only will an MSN in Nursing Administration boost your career prospects, but it will also grant you unique skills that will make you better at decision-making in nursing.

The main thing that MSN in Nursing Administration teaches you is nursing leadership skills. You’ll learn how to effectively manage a ward, and better understand the business side of hospital organization.

In terms of what skills you’ll gain specifically, this depends on the course you enroll in. Each is different and features different modules and course lengths. However, the core components of a Nursing Administration program include:

  • Healthcare policy and social justice issues
  • Finance for nurse executives
  • Healthcare informatics
  • Research methods
  • Organizational behavior
  • Statistical analysis
  • Transformational leadership
  • Population and community health

Communication skills

You’ll also gain effective interpersonal and communicative skills through this MSN program. You’ll learn how to approach staff and give them recommendations on how to improve their nursing. A big part of nursing management roles is enhancing the performance levels of the registered nurses you manage. For this, you need effective communication skills.

Other incentives

Other benefits of enrolling in an MSN in Nursing Administration include:

  • A guaranteed increase in your salary.
  • Better workplace culture.
  • Opportunities to work in different industries.
  • Expand your professional network.
  • The opportunity to enroll in a doctoral degree.


To enroll in a Nursing Administration program, you need to at least be a working Registered Nurse with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN). Some institutions, like the University of Texas Arlington, require at least 2 years worth of paid professional experience.

So, it’s not a course you can enroll in straight after you’ve graduated with your Bachelor’s Degree. You need to spend a little time first getting to grips with the professional working world of nursing before you can move on to a Nursing Administration program.

In terms of other requirements, it depends entirely on the institution you apply for. Generally, most of the institutions listed below require a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5/5. Some courses may have required that you covered certain topics while attaining your Bachelor’s Degree. You should check your chosen institution’s course requirements section for more information.

Job Outlook for Nursing Administration

The job outlook for Nursing Administration jobs is very healthy on the whole. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 28% increase in Medical and Health Service Manager opportunities by the year 2031.

Not only that, but the BLS predicts there will not be enough candidates to fill the high level of managerial roles that will energy by 2031. Although this shortfall is not good for healthcare systems, it does increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to attain a managerial job through a Nursing Administration MSN.

Top Nursing Administration Programs

If you’re applying for an MSN in nursing administration degree, chances are that you’re already working. That’s why most nursing administration roles are offered as an online program (or hybrid, in some cases). This way, you can continue working, while also studying toward your MSN.

The top nursing administration degree programs currently offered across the US include the options listed below. Each of these has been accredited by Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

1) University of Texas at Tyler

School: School of Nursing

Program type: Online (with some practicum hours)

Program options: Full-time/Part-time

Program length: 2 years (both full-time and part-time)

Program information:

The University of Texas at Tyler offers flexible full-time and part-time nursing administration degree programs. The course includes some practicum hours that’ll give you hands-on practice in nursing administration.

If you enroll in the full-time option, you’ll complete 3 semesters over your first year. In the second year, you only have to complete 1 semester. If you enroll in a part-time course, you’ll have to complete 3 semesters in your first year and 3 semesters in your second year.

Examples of topics include health population health, organizational systems leadership skills, and transitional science.

2) University of Texas Arlington

School: College of Nursing and Health Innovation

Program type: Online (With some practicum courses)

Program options: Full-time/Part-time

Program length: 2 years

Program information:

If you’ve got 2 years’ worth of professional nursing experience, you can enroll in the University of Texas Arlington’s MSN in Nursing Administration course. This course takes between 19 and 22 months to complete and takes place almost entirely online.

It consists of 8 online courses, 4 practicum courses, and 2 online elective courses. The 10 online nursing courses include such topics as Nursing and Health Care Policy and Principles of Research in Nursing.

The first clinical application courses are titled Roles and Functions of the Nurse Administrator. The second is titled Management of Nursing Operations.

Elective options include Statistics for Healthcare and Teaching/Learning Theories, Strategies, and Evaluation.

3) Union University

School: College of Nursing

Program type: Online

Program options: Full-time/Part-time

Program length: 16 months (full-time)/ 2 years (part-time)

Program information:

This Nursing Administration online program aims to give students a better understanding of the management and economic principles in high nursing positions.

The full-time course is divided into 16 topics, taught over 4 semesters. Each semester, you’ll have to take part in a nursing administration practicum course. In semester 1, for example, you need to clock up a total of 80 clinical hours.

Some of the topics covered throughout the course include Nursing Quality Management,
Informatics and Healthcare, and Nurse Administration and the Law.

The part-time option covers the same topics. However, the program is split into 7 semesters.

4) Clarkson College

School: This institution is a health sciences college

Program type: Online (with some required campus visits)

Program options: Full-time/Part-time

Program length: 10 semesters (full-time)/14 semesters (part-time)

Program information:

Clarkson College is a dedicated school of nursing that offers a fully online MSN in Nursing Administration program. While you’ll have to partake in some campus visits, the educational side of this course takes place entirely online. This makes this course stand out over other courses as it does not require any practicum courses.

Some of the compulsory courses taught as part of this program include Population Health, Applied Statistics, and Nursing Law and Ethics.

There are also 8 courses specifically for those who specialize in Nursing Administration. These courses include Ethics in Leadership, Healthcare Strategic Management, and Healthcare Project Management.

5) Queens University of Charlotte

School: Presbyterian School of Nursing

Program type: Full-time

Program options: Online/Hybrid

Program length: 2 years

Program information:

Queens University of Charlotte offers an MSN in Nursing Administration course that consists of both core nursing courses and core leadership courses. The main focus of the program is The Business of Clinical Care. This is taught both virtually and in person to small classes. It’s an asynchronous course, meaning it’s flexible for working nurses.

Core classes include Theoretical Foundations, Informatics in Healthcare, and Research Methods. Classes that focus on Nursing Administration include Nurse Administrator Residency, Graduate Nursing Capstone, and Financial Management for Nurse Leaders.


Is an MSN in Nursing Administration the same as an MHA?

MSN and MHAs are not the same. An MSN is a Master of Science in Nursing. An MHA is a Master of Health Care Administration. However, there are some similarities between the two programs. For example, both cover similar topics such as population health, marketing management, and health policy.

Plus, both can be used to help you get a managerial position in health care.

What’s the difference between an MSN program and BSN?

A Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) is designed to teach undergraduates about how to deliver care directly to patients. An MSN program, on the other hand, teaches BSN graduates about more advanced nursing. It also teaches graduates about the administrative and business side of nursing. Generally, it teaches nursing leadership and creates more career options.

Is a career in nursing administration rewarding?

Some nurse administrators find their jobs more rewarding than registered nurses because they’re driving changes in the nursing profession. Nurse administrators also have to deal with less stress when working, as they’re not dealing with patients directly. They take on more of a managerial position in the ward and find ways to make improvements to healthcare systems.

Final Thoughts

If you want to ascend to a nursing leadership role, an MSN program in Administration is an essential step in your nursing education. Healthcare professionals that currently work in health services management got to that position with the aid of an MSN program.

By enrolling in this nursing education course, you’ll be able to apply for clinical nurse research roles. You’ll also be a suitable candidate for administrator, directorial, and managerial roles.

Universities and colleges across the country offer nursing administration programs, many of which are Collegiate Nursing Education-accredited. Some of the best courses are provided by Queens University of Charlotte, Clarkson College, and the University of Texas at Tyler.